The relationship between context, structure, and processes with outcomes of 6 regional diabetes networks in Europe

Mahdi Mahdavi, Jan Vissers*, Sylvia Elkhuizen, Mattees Van Dijk, Antero Vanhala, Eleftheria Karampli, Raquel Faubel, Paul Forte, Elena Coroian, Joris Van De Klundert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
134 Downloads (Pure)


Background While health service provisioning for the chronic condition Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) often involves a network of organisations and professionals, most evidence on the relationships between the structures and processes of service provisioning and the outcomes considers single organisations or solo practitioners. Extending Donabedian’s Structure-Process-Outcome (SPO) model, we investigate how differences in quality of life, effective coverage of diabetes, and service satisfaction are associated with differences in the structures, processes, and context of T2D services in six regions in Finland, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Spain, and UK. Methods Data collection consisted of: a) systematic modelling of provider network’s structures and processes, and b) a cross-sectional survey of patient reported outcomes and other information. The survey resulted in data from 1459 T2D patients, during 2011–2012. Stepwise linear regression models were used to identify how independent cumulative proportion of variance in quality of life and service satisfaction are related to differences in context, structure and process. The selected context, structure and process variables are based on Donabedian’s SPO model, a service quality research instrument (SERVQUAL), and previous organization and professional level evidence. Additional analysis deepens the possible bidirectional relation between outcomes and processes. Results The regression models explain 44% of variance in service satisfaction, mostly by structure and process variables (such as human resource use and the SERVQUAL dimensions). The models explained 23% of variance in quality of life between the networks, much of which is related to contextual variables. Our results suggest that effectiveness of A1c control is negatively correlated with process variables such as total hours of care provided per year and cost of services per year. Conclusions While the selected structure and process variables explain much of the variance in service satisfaction, this is less the case for quality of life. Moreover, it appears that the effect of the clinical outcome A1c control on processes is stronger than the other way around, as poorer control seems to relate to more service use, and higher cost. The standardized operational models used in this research prove to form a basis for expanding the network level evidence base for effective T2D service provisioning.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0192599
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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